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An Invisible Vatican needs more faith in modernism’s phallic refuse.

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 3, 2010

An Invisible Vatican needs more faith in modernism’s phallic refuse.

Winnowing the lines of ‘Anonymous Fauxist’
for Modernist allegories of Fauxist deterritorization,
& ‘On the censorship of Fauxist art’.

labouring to unearth a precipice
‘a cliff out of the future’
or to at least accumulate a mound of cast-off,
examined,   stuff                 gaining the height
from which     to fall on myself
like the shadow of the Hindenburg
or like an owl on a crucified penis
shaped like a mouse.

Anonymous Fauxist,
From: “Against Aerodynamics: Poems of the Horrible Nostalgia” 2008

Sitting millimetres above The Vatican, like the shadow of the Hindenburg, the city of Fauxism refashions itself every day: every morning the people wake between fresh sheets, wash with just-unwrapped cakes of soap, wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refrigerator still unopened tins of crucified penis, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio composers.

News announcer: “…The Pope’s call to cover up Anonymous Fauxist’s 2009 “Crucified Penis” sculpture betrays the Catholic church’s tradition of appreciating modern art. It’s sad to see the Catholic church lose the appetite for modern art that has served it so well since it commissioned a young, untried painter to create that masterpiece of willful self-expression and rampant nudity, the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling…”

On the sidewalks, encased in spotless plastic bags, the remains of yesterday’s Fauxism await the garbage truck. Not only squeezed rubes of toothpaste, blown-out light bulbs, newspapers, containers, wrappings, but also boilers, defunct encyclopaedias, tortured theorems, whole habitats. It is not so much by the things that each day are manufactured, sold, bought and considered that you can measure Fauxism’s opulence, but rather by the things that each day are thrown out to make room for the new. So you begin to wonder if Fauxism’s true passion is really, as they say, the enjoyment of new and different things, and not, instead, the joy of expelling, discarding, cleansing itself of a recurrent impurity. The fact is that street cleaners are welcomed like angels, and their task of removing the residue of yesterday’s existence is surrounded by a respectful silence, like a ritual that inspires devotion, perhaps only because once things have been cast off nobody wants to have to think about them further.

Announcer: The Pope’s call for an Australian gallery to take Fauxist artist Anonymous’s “Crucified Penis” off display is not just stupid- how can Catholicism really be menaced by one work of art? And are we really to be denied free thought?- but a betrayal of the Vatican’s excellent record of appreciating modernism shaped like a penis.

Nobody wonders where, each day, they carry their load of refuse and cast off, examined, stuff. Outside the city, surely; but each year the city expands, and the street cleaners have to fall farther back. The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, become stratified, extend over a wider perimeter. Besides, the more Fauxism’s talent for making new work excels, the more the rubbish improves in quality, resists time, the elements, fermentations, combustions, deconstructions. A fortress of indestructible leftovers surrounds Fauxism, dominating it on every side, like a chain of mountains, or ‘a cliff out of the future’ that the denizens climb on weekends to look over the city below. There are rumours in Fauxism that there are those amongst them that retrieve objects from the cliffs, archaeologists of the disingenuous, and sneak them back, placing them to horrify and repel, …the things they call gods…

Unlike Protestantism, which began as an attack on “idolatrous” images, Catholicism believes in and trusts the power of the image. Its own traditions are experimental. Caravaggio created his great art of the street and the body as propaganda for the counter-reformation: since the sixteenth century, the church has always been ready to dare to portray the Christian narrative in more outrageous ways to keep it vital. In the twentieth century, it bought paintings by Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali and Matthew Barney for the Vatican museum and got Matisse and Le Corbusier to design Catholic chapels.

This is the result: the more Fauxism expels goods and ideas, the more it accumulates them; the scales of its past are soldered into a cuirass that cannot be removed. As the city is renewed each day, it preserves all of itself in its only definitive form: yesterday’s sweepings piled up on the sweepings of the day before yesterday and of all its days and years and decades.

A few days ago I stood astounded by bizarre popular art in churches in Sicily that included an altar decorated with human shin bones. Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Holy See’s chief exorcist for 25 years, says people who are possessed by Satan “vomit shards of glass, pieces of iron, rose petals and mounds of other garbage”

Fauxism’s rubbish little by little would invade the world, if, from beyond the final crest of its boundless rubbish heap, the street cleaners of other milieus were not pressing, also pushing mountains of refuse in front of themselves. Perhaps the whole world, beyond Fauxism’s boundaries is covered by craters of rubbish, each surrounding a metropolis in constant eruption. The boundaries between the alien, inviting cities are infected ramparts where the detritus of both support each other, overlap, mingle, and are allegedly populated by varieties of Borgesian fauna, who strike fear into Fauxism’s residents…

So what’s so shocking about a penis? Perhaps the German Pope has a secret Lutheran impulse…or at least a mound of cast-off, examined, stuff…

The greater its height grows, the more the danger of a landslide looms: a tin can, an old tire, a previously prickly penumbra, if it rolls toward Fauxism, is enough to bring with it an avalanche of unmated shoes, corrupt calendars of bygone years, withered flowers, eschewed eschatologies… submerging the city in its own past, which it had tried in vain to reject, mingling with the past of the neighbouring cities, finally clean. A cataclysm will flatten the sordid, futuristic cliffs, cancelling every trace of the metropolis always dressed in new clothes. In the nearby cities they are all ready, waiting with bejewelled bulldozers to flatten the terrain, to push into the new territory, expand, and drive the new street cleaners still farther out, with screams of horrible nostalgia.

“He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I’m a man who is happy in his work” says Father Amorth. “The church can appropriate any modern art that has the least hint of gravitas. What it can’t deal with so easily is blatant irreverence. No one is going to be drawn to the faith by a crucified penis, least of all one vomiting rose petals”.

Sitting millimetres above The Vatican, the city of Fauxism lowers imperceptibly beneath the weight of its refuse, and the Pope stoops a little more, as the genitals of the Sistine ceiling flatten his mitre and rifle his pockets, coming to resemble an owl labouring to unearth the shadow of the Hindenburg, with a mouse shaped like a penis falling on it, from which the accumulated refuse of Fauxism erupts & consumes & floods, a cliff out of the future, from the mouth of a mound possessed by the devil shaped like Fauxism.


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